Crookston Planning Commission to review church addition request

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    The Crookston Planning Commission will consider a variance request at their August 17 meeting from Our Lady of Sorrows Church who is looking to build an addition on their property. The church, which is located at 596 East Robert Street, is zoned as a Highway Business District (C-2) while the surrounding area within the 350-foot buffer of adjacent land owners is considered family residential area (R-2 or C-2.)

    The church did submit to the Planning Commission an application for variance form and conceptual sketch of the addition, plus the legal notice for the buffer of land owners that have been contacted.

    The variance form asks that the commission consider the building setback requirement along Washington Avenue be reduced to 25 feet as well as the building setback at the south property line shared with an adjacent residential lot. The current ordinance 152.51.E.3.c for C-2 zoning shows city setback regulations from road right-of-way for a city street is listed as 90 feet and the ordinance 152.51.E.3.f for C-2 zoning shows city setback regulations from road right-of-way for a lot line along a residential district is listed as 75 feet.

    The main existing sanctuary portion of the church was built in 1960 and the western “wing” portion of the building was built in 2004. A note in the commission’s packet says that the church building itself is not within the current ordinance setback requirements hence the application for variance.

    City staff are recommending that the commission pass the variance request since current conditions exist where the property line is a 25 feet building setback distance along the city street and at a 25 feet building setback distance along the residential district. It was also noted that the church property is “unique in that it is such an odd shape within the outlines of Robert Street and Washington Avenue” and the main principal building was built prior to existing ordinance setbacks, plus any construction by the owner would be limited in its ability to expand within the current constraints of the setback limits.